Sunday 8 May 2022

 Enter the world of the Jews from Iraq at the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Centre

Off the beaten track, but well worth the trip, is the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center, established in 1973 to preserve the history of the Jewish community in Iraq and to ensure that it remains part of the future narrative of the Jewish nation.

Importantly, it contains the Museum of Babylonian Jewry, opened to the public which shows aspects from the history of Babylonian Jewry throughout the generations over the course of more than 2,600 years. you will wander through a typical alley, showing the workshops located there, visit a typical home in the early twentieth century, see how the culture changes affected dress, music and international interaction (especially British!) and immerse yourself in centuries old Jewish culture. 

But why is the museum sited in Or Yehudah? Well, when the Iraqi Jews arrived in Israel in 1948/9, this was the location of one of their maabarot, or temporary refugee camps. The Refugees were keen to leave the tented accommodation as soon as possible and so built their new town on the same ground. Mordecahi Ben Porat, an Iraqi Jew, was the town's first mayor.

Just 20 minutes from the centre of tel aviv, but a world away, this is a hidden gem in Israel and well worth the trip. An audio guide with English option, is well worth taking.

the Museum, with plenty of adjacent parking, is on Sderot Mordechi Ben Porat.

A must see new museum in Tel Aviv - ANU


There will be many of us who fondly recall Bet Hatfutzot, the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv, which closed some time ago for refurbishment. Well, in its new guise, it is a completely re-envisioned space, as The Museum of the Jewish People. Yes, the models of old synagogues are still there for you to say "yes, I've been there: tick", but it is far, far more than that. 

State of the art displays, graphics and areas take you through the entire Jewish world and its many communities. From Foundations through our Journey to a Mosaic of modern jewish Identity and Culture, this is an inspirational location. you cannot rush it, though. Reserve at least half a day and be transported.

ANU is on the campus of Tel Aviv University